Star Man – Ammirul Emmran, Garena Young Lions
Ammirul was part of the Singapore Under-15 squad that captured the imagination of many Singaporeans in the 2010 YOG, where they clinched the bronze medal.
Also in that team was the flying left winger Jonathan Tan, electric forward Muhaimin Suhaimi and lanky front man Hazim Faiz.
The quartet, who went separate ways following their National Football Academy Under-18 days, are now finally reunited at the Young Lions.
“I’m definitely happy to be in the same team again with these old teammates again after not playing with them for almost three years,” Ammirul told FourFourTwo.
“It’s great that we still have that camaraderie during training and now it’s the time for all of us to prove our worth in the S.League.”
2015 was a difficult year for Ammirul as he failed to make the cut for the Southeast (SEA) Games squad that participated on home soil for the first time in 22 years.
Nonetheless he kicked on and managed to seal a regular playing spot under Juergen Rabb, who took over from Aide Iskandar after the completion of the Games and managed to eke out some incredible results for the developmental outfit.
The German coach has since left the post, with his contract running out at the end of last season.
“It was a disappointment not to get selected for the SEA Games, but it was still a good learning year for me,” shared Ammirul. “The team improved tremendously in the second part of the season under coach Juergen, which was nice to see.
“He was a very intelligent coach; he communicates well with each individual and knew how to make every player in the team feel important. I was sad to see him leave after what he had done with the team in just a few months."
It was a disappointment not to get selected for the SEA Games, but it was still a good learning year for me.
The 21-year-old ITE College West student is now into his third season with the Young Lions and is set to play a bigger role with the team, now that fellow midfielders like M. Anumanthan and Afiq Noor have moved on to Hougang United.
In the 1-0 friendly defeat against Albirex Niigata (S) last month, he was handed the captain’s armband and put up a combative shift against the rapid Japanese attackers.
“I think I’m ready to step up after two seasons with this team,” he shared. “I’ve been playing with senior players and that has helped me to mature on the field.
“I’ve learnt a lot from them and now it’s time for me to help some of the younger players that is joining this year.”
“My target is to be a regular starter for the team, not just there to make up the numbers. That’s the only way to improve myself.”
Apart from helping the team improve on their eighth-place finish last year, Ammirul is also looking to develop into a more all-round player to boost his chances of getting into the national team in the future.
“I think there’re still many areas for me to improve on,” he shared. “I want to be able to give those forward passes to the strikers and direct them towards goal.
“I also need to get forward more to support the strikers and score some goals to help the team. Hopefully it’ll be a good season ahead for me and my teammates.”
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Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo